Body Talk, Past & Present Curator-lead Walkthrough

Sat, May 14, 2016, 11am-1pm
The Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens
Free, but space is limited, advance sign ups required by May 10! (10 cent processing fee)

Curator Melissa Lo will introduce WCCW participants to select items from The Huntington Library’s Lawrence D. Longo and Betty Jeanne Longo Collection in Reproductive Biology. A recent and as-of-yet uncatalogued acquisition, this treasure trove comprises 2700 rare books, 3000 obscure pamphlets, and a dozen manuscripts that all shed light on the care, management, politics, construction, and culture of women’s bodies in the West from the 16th century to the 20th. During this show-and-tell we will focus on a handful of episodes in that history. These will likely include theories of conception and monstrous births, the 17th-century invention of the forceps, early modern “menstruating men” (!), the diagramming of the uterus in the wake of Newton physics, an early 19th-century English midwife’s account book, 19th-century treatises on hysteria and its treatment on the Continent, and early 20th-century handbooks that outlined American ideals about women’s health, fitness, and sexuality. Free, but space is limited, advance sign ups required by May 10! (10 cents processing fee)

Melissa Lo is a historian of early modern science and visual culture, and Dibner Assistant Curator of History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at The Huntington Library. She is fascinated by visual paradox, histories of how we know what we know, and why we think with some categories and not with others.